Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a slowly developing neurodegenerative condition typical of athletes involved in contact sports. This was evidenced in a recent study in which nearly every former NFL player whose brain was investigated had suffered from CTE. The findings released this week were part of a study conducted by two leading medical institutions devoted to CTE research — the VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine — and the results concluded that of 111 NFL players’ brains that were donated to science after the players’ deaths, 110 (99%) were found to have CTE. The disease currently can only be diagnosed post-mortem.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at the brains of 202 deceased people who had played football at various levels, from high school to the NFL. (The brains had been donated to a brain bank at Boston University for further study.) The researchers analyzed the brains for signs of CTE and spoke to family members about the players’ histories.
Dr. Jesse Mez, an assistant professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, one of the co-authors of the study, said that “the goal of doctors and scientists is to eventually be able to diagnose CTE among the living”. Dr. Mez said that the goal of doctors and scientists is to eventually diagnose CTE among the living, so that research and development of treatment methods can be expedited. “One of the important points is to develop bio-markers and figure out ways of differentiating this disease (CTE) from other neurodegenerative diseases, most certainly Alzheimer’s.” he adds.
Today, the analysis is made post-mortem (after death) from individuals who engaged to donate their brain for research. Medicortex Finland Oy, a biotechnology company in Finland, is developing a diagnostic tool for rapid sideline detection of brain injury.
This is exactly what Medicortex Finland Oy is aiming at. Medicortex is working towards the identification of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) biomarker in body fluids and incorporating it into a quick and reliable diagnostic kit that can be easily used by sideline paramedics, first responders and healthcare professionals, and also by people with no medical profession. A rapid TBI test will furthermore help prioritize evacuation order in mass casualties and reframe from administration of contraindicated medications.
Recently Medicortex completed analyzing the results from the first clinical trial. The trial consisted of patients that were hospitalized due to a head injury. The clinical results confirmed the presence of a unique biomarker that will be further developed into a new diagnostic tool. Medicortex’s test utilizes easily accessible, non-invasive samples of body fluids. It is easy to understand the result of the test which enables straightforward confirmation or ruling-out of TBI without a need of a medical professional. Suspected athletes can be tested for TBI after a prominent hit to the head at sport arenas. The test can be performed by the coach of the team or by a First Aid group in charge.
Dr. Adrian Harel, Chief Executive Officer of Medicortex Finland, says that “Brain injury is a devastating condition leading to mortality if not diagnosed. We have the opportunity to develop the first portable non-invasive kit for head injury and concussion to help the patients and families that so desperately need it is remarkable.”
Medicortex Finland Oy (http://www.medicortex.fi) is an early clinical stage company dedicated to improving the diagnostics and treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Medicortex is currently developing biomarker diagnostics for rapid detection of TBI. The second goal will be to develop an innovative drug to halt the progression of brain injury. Medicortex was founded by and it is headed by a neurobiologist and entrepreneur Adrian Harel (PhD, MBA). The company operates in Turku, Finland.